Filed: Thursday, 30th September 2010
By: Preview Percy
Look at it this way: if Preview Percy wasn't at home writing this stuff he'd be out on the streets mingling with members of the public. We figure that this is the lesser of two evils....
Next up it's another Saturday 3pm kick off for a second derby in a row as we entertain Fulham.
Now before we move on to the preview proper I believe I need to do some advance explaining of what is to follow. A “spoiler alert” if you will. Those of you who don't like to have stuff explained to you should look away now.
You see in last week's preview those oh so sensitive souls from White Hart Lane took great offence at what I thought was a rather obvious in-joke in which I referred to their no.3 as “Christian” Bale. I suppose I should have factored in the room-temperature IQ of the opposition support, if only to save the boss from having to deal with all those semi-literate emails to the comments box. So in the interests of harmony, peace and all things lovely and nice, I'd like to make the following quite clear for the benefit of any Fulham fans that, unlikely as it sounds, might be as dim as them from WHL: Yes I do realise that Fulham are not actually managed by Nerys Hughes. Nerys Hughes is an actress with a track record in unfunny sitcoms about scousers and dull dramas about nursing. Whereas Mark Hughes is a former professional footballer who now manages Fulham. Mind you have have you ever seen the two of them together in a room?
Ok it's safe to look again now. Fulham are currently unbeaten in seventh place with eight points, four points clear of ourselves. They are the league's draw specialists as, whilst they have but a solitary win to their name (a 2-1 home victory over Wolves) they have drawn their other five (0-0 away at Bolton and at home to Everton, 2-2 at home to Man Utd and away to Blackpool, and 1-1 at Blackburn). In the League Cup they got rid of Port Vale 6-0 before falling at the next hurdle to our next round opponents Stoke 2-0.
The visitors are managed by Nerys Hughes, the former Man Utd, Barcelona Chelsea, Southampton and Blackburn striker. Hughes arrived in the close season replacing Roy Hodgson. Hodgson led the Cottagers to last season's Europa Cup final where the Cottagers went down 2-1 to Atletico Madrid. Liverpool moved in for Hodgson in the close season because, basically, they needed someone with Europa Cup experience. Hughes came in after 7 months out of work following his dismissal by Man City. He was linked with the vacant post at the Boleyn, though only SuGo will ever know whether that was ever a serious link. His appointment followed protracted negotiations with Martin Jol who was close to signing from Ajax but ended up staying put.
The transfer window saw seven in and nine out. Hodgson raided his former club to take former Hammer Paul Konchesky up to to Anfield. As part of the deal two Livierpool youngsters Lauri Dalla Valle and Alex Kacaniklic came in the opposite direction. Defender Chris Smalling left for Old Trafford in a deal that was, technically, part of the previous window. To replace him former Arsenal defender Philipe Senderos came in on a free in what was effectively Hodgson's last deal for the club. However the Swiss international will miss the lion's share of the season having ruptured his achilles tendon in training. Jonathan Greening's season-long loan from West Brom was also made permanent during the close season. Much of the window headlines, however, centred around a transfer that didn't happen. Aussie 'keeper Mark Schwarzer seemed bound for Highbury in the early weeks of the season. Having missed the first few League matches through injury it seemed the good form of deputy David Stockdale would allow Schwarzer to leave. However a combination of an allegedly derisory transfer fee offered by Arsenal and an injury to Stockdale put paid to the deal – at least for this transfer window. Schwarzer's return to fitness conveniently occurred too late for Fulham to source a replacement.
The departure of Konchesky reduces the number of ex-Hammers in the squad to two. A nasty injury to Bobby Zamora will keep him out until next year. Not that there is ever a good time for injury but the broken leg he suffered against Wolves came at a particularly rotten time for the likeable forward coming as it did when he was being picked for England squads and this is (at least) one Hammer who wishes him all the best for a speedy recovery.
Also in the squad is John Paintsil. There has always been some confusion over the spelling of his name – apparently it's misspelt as Pantsil on all his official ID documents having been spelt incorrectly on his birth certificate. Just to confuse matters further, in the World Cup in South Africa whoever was responsible for ironing the names on the back of Ghana's shirts came up with yet another variant as, possibly after a surfeit of Castle, someone called Panstil turned out in the group match against Serbia. Pa(i)ns(t)il played in all five of Ghana's matches in SA including the unfortunate quarter final defeat to Uruguay – a match that is still looked on with great fondness by your correspondent who had Uruguay in the office sweep. Paintsil has been out of favour in recent weeks – his last appearance came in the victory over Wolves and, though he has been on the bench in subsequent matches he was missing completely from the squad for last weekend's 0-0 at home to Everton.
Up front, they went with Dempsey and Gera against Everton, though the Hugarian half of that partnership was replaced by Eddie Johnson. Johnson's namesake Amy (ok Andy if you must) has been absent of late with an ailment called “jumper's knee” and this weekend may be a few days to soon for a return to the starting line-up. The other attacking option available to them is Senegalese international Diomansy Kamara. A former West Brom player of the year, Kamara spent the back end of last season on loan at Celtic where he partnered Robbie Keane. Let's hope Kamara is as effective this week as Keane was last week.
“And what of us” I hear you shout. Well, as the song would have put it had the lyrics been different: what a difference a week makes. In the space of 7 days we picked up a deserved point at the Britannia, knocked Sunderland out of the League Cup and, picked up three points against Spurs. The newspaper reports of the Spurs match were hilarious. The journos took great pains to mention how Green had “silenced his critics” - whilst failing to mention exactly who those critics actually were. Journalists in hypocrisy shock!
Most reports concentrated on Green's form – but it was a superb team performance that ensured that the points ended up in the right place. The Piquionne-Obinna partnership that showed so much promise up on Wearside in midweek flourished on Saturday and I'd hope that they would start this weekend (subject to fitness). This, I'm afraid, is likely to mean a run of games on the bench for Carlton Cole if they can keep up the sort of form shown in the last week.
On the injury front "Der Hammer" looks to be out for another couple of weeks. There is something that is so West Ham about signing a class player who escaped injury in the World Cup by not getting selected for the squad, only to see him pick up a knock in his first international afterwards. It's going to be a nice selection headache for the boss once all are fit, assuming – and knowing our our luck that's a big assumption – we do manage to keep everyone fit. Thankfully Dyer's tummy should have recovered for this one and, that being the case I'd hope, nay expect an unchanged starting XI. Damned if I can remember the last one.
Well all is optimism and light at the moment and I'm not going to buck the trend in my prediction this week. A slight word of caution is due, mind. Fulham will probably be more difficult to turn over than Spurs were. Nevertheless, the tails are well and truly up at the moment and I can see the nightmare start to the season fading in the rear view mirror. Lets say 3-1 another three points and a step up a place or two.
Enjoy the game!
Last season: drew 2-2 One of those matches where we were cruising until the opposition had a player sent off. One nil up through Cole's header, we then went 2-1 down and things looked grim until Stanislas grabbed a late equaliser, which fooled nobody.
Danger man: Clint Dempsey to be fair nobody has really stood out for them thus far this season but Dempsey has caused us problems in the past.
Referee: Andre Marriner second appearance of the season at the Boleyn for this official. Let's hope he's studied the laws of the game in the month or so since his last one against Bolton. Jewel in the crown of a woefully sub-standard performance was his baffling failure to award a free-kick for Davies' assault on Upson. That was effectively the turning point in a match that, up to that point, we'd dominated.
Travel news: Hallelujah, rejoice, let joy be unconfined. There are no, repeat no, planned engineering works on our bit of the District Line this weekend. Upton Park station will be open so you can resume all those friendships that you used to strike up in the interminable post-match queues.
Daft fact of the week: Apparently the London Borough of Hammersmith & Fulham has the fewest railway stations of any London borough. Which begs the question: how come there will be so many trainspotters in the away support this weekend?
Please note that the opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of, nor should be attributed to, KUMB.com.
by BCM (FFC)
02:27PM 30th Sep 2010
''Fulham fan in peace. Good to see you beat the front wheels last week but we`ll be a bit harder. 1-1 is a cert bet. Luv and kisses, bye for now.''
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